Food, Inc. is a new documentary by director/producer, Robert Kenner. The film discusses where our food really comes from and how it is really produced and how to use it as a fuel for our bodies instead of something that is making us sick. Although this description might make it seem like it is chocked full of footage of dying animals to force us to swear off meat and leather, it isn’t that at all. It is an informative piece to make the viewer a little more aware of the practices involved in raising corn, soybeans, chickens and other types of food. It is strangely uplifting and incredibly emotional all at the same time.
This film is a great if you are hoping to learn a few new things food, as well as how our country and society works.
Here is a slightly more in depth analysis of the movie…
Food, Inc. is a documentary about the state of the food industry within the United States. Food is cheaper and more abundant than it has ever been, but how is this the case? We have detached ourselves from how food ends up on our plates. Food is marketed to us as if it comes from a little farm with a white fence and rolling hills but this is simply an illusion. The food actually comes from mega factory farms. Our society has cheaper food but there have been more E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks in the past twenty years than ever before and obesity and the rate of diabetes are through the roof. Food, Inc. discusses how these problems have developed, how our society’s food has evolved over the years, why our food is cheaper, where it is coming from, and the unsafe conditions from which it comes from. Food, Inc. features interviews with the authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivores Dilemma), farmer Joel Salatin, and Stonyfield Farms founder, Gary Hirschberg, to help enlighten viewers about the condition of the food we eat.
- The tone: The film certainly discusses a lot of reasons as to why one should pay attention to the food and meat they are eating. However, the film does not come across preachy or use the same tactics of PETA or similar organizations. The film does not employ fear tactics to make you swear off beef forever. Instead, it explains why the food is unsanitary or how certain corporations have bad business practices that are harmful the consumers and then lets you make the decision.
- The information: The information is covered in a way that is completely riveting. It’s a mixture of interesting and completely disturbing. The manner in which the director, Robert Kenner, explains the issues is very well done. He presents the issues very clearly and effectively through interesting graphs and graphics. You can’t help but walk out of the film with a firm decision to never eat another cheeseburger from a fastfood chain and to start shopping at farmers’ markets.
- The interviews: The interviews in the film ranged from chicken, cattle, and soybean farmers, to authors, and a food safety advocate. The people in the interviews were very well informed, and they presented various points of views. The best interview was with cattle farmer, Joel Salatin; he was so convincing and so passionate about raising cattle and chickens the old-fashioned way.
- Where is the other half?: The biggest problem with the film is the lack of information from the major corporations, but this is not the fault of the filmmakers. The film wanted the corporations to be involved in the film, but the corporations wanted no such thing. The corporations could have done themselves a bit of good if they had participated; they would have seemed less villainous and spun some of the information if they had chosen to participate.
- The amount of information: Talking about the entire food industry in 90 minutes is a daunting task. There is a lot of information and topics to cover is a relatively short period of time. It felt, at times, that the topics were a tad bit rushed or incomplete.
This is a good film for you if:
- You like documentaries, especially if they are about a particular social topic.
- You believe that films don’t have to be 90 min of mindless entertainment.
- You are socially and politically conscious.
This is not the film for you if:
- You want to see a movie for the sole purpose of entertainment.
- You think people who are vegetarians or buy organic food are a bunch of self-righteous, left-wing hippies.
Overall: ***Spoilers ahead***
The film was very good and I would definitely recommend it to others. It was horrifying but in a good way. It is surprising how emotional charged the film is; from the heartbreaking moment when Barbara Kowalcyk relives her son’s death from a tainted cheeseburger, to the completely disgusting treatment of workers as if they are completely disposable. Instead of looking out for the safety of the consumers, the focus has shifted to the safety of these corporations.
The movie isn’t about what type of food is good or bad, instead, it discusses how the food industry is using you and how you can fight back.
Food, Inc. will be released in a limited amount of theaters on June 12.
Read our interview with the director, Robert Kenner.